Mar 20, 2010

What to do when Alzheimer's Strikes -- Carole Larkin

When Alzheimer's strikes most families don't know where to look for help, or what to do.....
Previously I wrote,  How Would You Answer This Question?


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Following a thorough physical and neurological examination, our mother was diagnosed as being in the early stages of Alzheimer's disease.
My siblings and I are starting to talk about future care and what actions we should be taking to keep her safe.
Unfortunately we are clueless and don't even know where to start.
Our father died very suddenly years ago, so we never dealt with any care plan issues with him.
Can you give us some direction?

By Carole B. Larkin
Alzheimer's Reading Room

The answer -- GET EDUCATED -- the sooner the better. There are two ways to get educated:

Teach Yourself
  1. Call the local Alzheimer’s Association – they will send you information and direct you to support groups. FREE.
  2. Call the Area Agency on Aging for the names of other eldercare agencies that will give you information. FREE
  3. Search the Knowledge Base here on the Alzheimer's Reading Room. FREE.
  4. Buy Books. Type in Alzheimer’s at Amazon.com or go to a bookstore. Not FREE but CHEAP.
  5. Talk with your friends, fellow church members, anyone you see at the Neurologist’s office to see what their experiences are.
  6. Go online and search Google, Yahoo and Bing. Use search terms like" Alzheimers, dementia, alzheimers information, dementia care, etc.
  7. Visit Nursing homes, assisted living, and/or home care companies to speak to people who can teach you about Alzheimer’s.
Have a Professional Teach and Assist You

  1. Geriatric Care Managers are professionals with expertise in Aging and the dementia. They are certified by the National Association of Geriatric Care Managers, and they are required to meet the criteria of ethics and expertise of the national association. They are usually Social workers, Nurses or Gerontologists.
  2. A Geriatric Care Manager will come to the residence of the person with the dementia and complete an extensive assessment of that persons circumstances, including but not limited to -- the personality of the person, family dynamics involved with that person’s family, funds available for care, a safety check of the residence, medical issues, and provide a list of other professionals that might be needed to be brought on a consult (such as Eldercare Attorneys, Home Care companies, Senior Real Estate Experts, remodeling companies, and nursing homes, etc…)
  3. At the assessment and in meetings subsequent, the care Manager personally conducts educational sessions with the family on Alzheimer’s and related dementia to increase the family’s knowledge of the behaviors and how to address them.
  4. From that assessment a Care Plan will be made up expressly for that person and their family, outlining steps to be taken immediately as well as steps to be taken in the intermediate and long term future.
  5. The Care Manager may offer to monitor the person periodically to assure things are going as planned.
  6. Care Managers are Private Pay. Medicare does not pay for this service, but some long term care insurance does. Care managers may work by the hour or charge a flat fee for the assessment and an hourly rate after that. Most are independent companies, a few work for home care companies or other senior businesses. Rates vary widely. Costs are usually in a range of $75-$150 an hour.
  7. Most clients say going this route saves time, money and reduces anxiety and stress.
  8. Care Managers can be found at this website: http://www.caremanager.org/
Carole Larkin MA, CMC, CAEd, DCP, QDCS, EICS is an expert in Alzheimer’s and related Dementias care. She also is a Certified Geriatric Care Manager who specializes in helping families with Alzheimer’s and related dementias issues. Carole can consults with families via telephone nationwide on problems related to the dementia. Her company, ThirdAge Services LLC, is located in Dallas, TX.

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